The Dallas Stars gave up 50 shots on goal Tuesday night in Chicago, and found a way to win. Thursday night they put 50 shots on goal in Toronto, and they didn’t win. But they did get a point, scoring late in regulation to force overtime, where Trevor Smith scored with 41.4 seconds remaining to give Toronto a 3-2 victory.
“At times it was utter domination. You’ve got to give their goalie credit,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “You’ve got to give their team a lot of credit, they found a way to win. They pulled what we pulled the other night in Chicago. Kudos to them.”
The Stars ended up with a 50-24 shots advantage in the game, but Toronto goaltender Jonathan Bernier was superb in making 48 saves.
“It was two games that were the exact opposite on this road trip,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn. “You get dominated in one and you find a way to win. I think we did an alright job tonight, but I think we could have done better in the small details of the game.”
There was good news and bad news on the injury front for the Stars. They got Tyler Seguin back Thursday after he had missed the two previous games with concussion-like symptoms, but they lost defenseman Trevor Daley early in the second period. Daley got tangled up with Toronto’s James van Riemsdyk, went down awkwardly and then went into the end boards. Daley did not return with what the Stars called a lower body injury.
“He’s got an injury that looks like it’s going to be a little bit of time,” Ruff said.
The point in Thursday’s game ran the Stars points streak to five games (2-0-3) and gave them a 13-9-5 record for the season. Toronto snapped a five-game winless streak with the victory.
“It feels good to win a hockey game,” said Toronto coach Randy Carlyle.
The Stars outshot the Maple Leafs 15-7 in the first period, but there was no scoring. The Leafs took a 1-0 lead less than a minute into the second period. With Daley down in the corner due to his injury, the Leafs were able to outman the Stars and Nazem Kadri scored from close range at the 58 second mark.
The Stars tied the game early in the third when Valeri Nichushkin dropped the puck off to Shawn Horcoff off the rush and Horcoff set up Erik Cole, who scored from close range.
The Leafs went on their second power play of the game at 6:18 of the third when Alex Goligoski took a cross checking penalty, and they cashed in to take a 2-1 lead. Kadri scored his second of the night, tipping home a Cody Franson shot from the top of the right circle.
The Stars went on the power play less than a minute later when Nichushkin drew a hooking call. The Stars had some good chances that were matched by good saves by Bernier. The Stars did get a puck past Bernier on the power play, but it was waved off because Horcoff knocked the puck in with a high stick.
“I felt it was a little bit high,” said Horcoff.
“It was the right call,” said Ruff. “The stick was high.”
Bernier came up with a slick glove save on Seguin off the rush with 8:49 remaining with the two teams playing at even strength to keep it a 2-1 game.
Nichushkin had a great chance with 5:14 left, but couldn’t get his backhand shot on net with Bernier out of position.
The Stars finally got the equalizer, tallying on their fourth power play of the night. Kevin Connauton put a shot on net from the left point and Horcoff tipped it past Bernier to make it a 2-2 game with 2:46 remaining in the third.
“You’ve got to get to the front of the net,” said Horcoff. “When things don’t go good for the power play you’ve got to find ways to get pucks to the net, and the last couple of games we’ve been able to do that. We’ve got shots, we’ve got bodies there and we’ve been rewarded.”
The Stars outshot the Maple Leafs, 6-2, in the overtime, but Smith went to the net and got his stick on a Jake Gardiner point shot, deflecting it past Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen to give Toronto the 3-2 victory.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.